Local News

City monitoring oil-by-rail process in Benicia

By From page A7 | February 11, 2014

In a small win for local opponents of more oil cars traveling through Davis by rail, a staff report released Friday evening said city staff are in contact with their Benicia counterparts and monitoring a development proposal.

The issue is whether the city of Benicia will vote to approve a new rail terminal that would allow at least twice the number of oil cars to dock and unload at the refinery.

It’s a complex issue, where the concerns of other cities like Davis can be boiled down to this: train cars rolling through their towns with spotty safety records carrying Bakken Shale oil that is more explosive than other petroleum.

At a Jan. 27 Natural Resources Commission meeting with more than 50 people in the audience, the commission voted on a draft set of recommendations, including making formal comment on the environmental review in March.

Deeper, the commission wanted the city to take a position and reach out to civic leaders in other cities along the rail line to invite them to sign the comments Davis makes on the review. One recommendation was for the city to engage with federal agencies to insist on better safety enforcement.

Although the report is for information only, any City Council member may be able to pull it off the consent agenda — usually packed with items that are deemed noncontroversial — if they so choose.

— Reach Dave Ryan at 530-747-8057. Follow him on Twitter at @davewritesnews

Dave Ryan

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